Anthropocentrism

Animals are Machines
By: Descartes

Descartes regards the body of an animal like a machine being made from the hands of God and that man could not create such a thing. He explains that there are two ways to test the difference between a real human and a "human robot" ( someone that looks just like us but is a machine). The first is that they wouldn't have speech or use other signs as we do to denote certain objects. He notes that even those animals that can talk, like parrots, don't show that they know what they're saying and don't make their own thoughts known though this type of speech. He also notes that we must not think that animals can talk and that we are just unable to understand them. The second difference he points out is that although animals can do things better than us, like running faster or hunting, they fall short in other ways showing that they don't act from knowledge but only from the "disposition of their organs" (p.274). The reason he gives for animal adaption is that there should be diversity in machines to allow them to act in all events of life. We have reasoning which causes us to act, whereas animals act the way their "parts" tell it too. Because animals can overpower us in certain ways does not mean they have a mind, Descartes insures us that this proves that they don't or else they would dominate humans in all things. He says that they don't have reason at all for this same reason and that it is nature that causes their actions. Like a clock that tells time with all it's parts working together can tell time better than any human and their wisdom; animals work naturally and mechanically. If we think that our souls are the same as a "brute" then after this life we have nothing to hope for. Our reasoning ensures us that our souls are not connected to our bodies and therefore do not die. Descartes doesn't mind that humans have absolute empire over all other animals.

He goes on to say that we have thought behind our words and actions as well as passion. When animals are taught things it is out of their fear of getting punished or hope of getting a treat if they do what they are told, things performed without any thought. Animals can't speak as we can because they have no thoughts, they only act on instinct. we cannot credit one animal with thought only because they have origins like us because we would have to include all animals and things such as sponges are too imperfect to have thoughts and an immortal soul.
one soul: the corporeal soul; is purely mechanical
the other soul: the incorporeal mind; is the thinking substance
Animals only have the corporeal soul, we cannot prove that they have the thinking soul, but we also cannot disprove
speech is the only certain sign of thought hidden in a body and no animal has ever made indication, in words or signs, of something pertaining to thought and not natural impulse.

We have only indirect duties to animals
By: Kant

-Animals are not:
*rational
*self-conscious
*capable of grasping moral law

-Treat them kind because it with help us develop good character and treat other human beings with more consideration
-We have no direct duties to animals
-They are a means to and end, and that end is humans.
-We have duties to animals only because they indirectly help humanity
-EX. if a man shoots his dog because the dog cannot serve him anymore, he doesn't fail in his duty to the dog because they dot cannot judge the action. But, the actions of the man are inhuman and it is his duty to treat mankind with humanity.
-We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals
-Shouldn't harm an animal for no reason
-"Tender feeling toward dumb animals develop humane feeling towards mankind"
-Animals are regarded as man's instruments and cruelty for animal experiments that could aid mankind can be justified

The case against animal rights
By: Cohen

-Humans have a duty to treat animals humanely
-Animals can't have rights because they cannot make moral decisions, they are not morally self-legislative
-Result of not using animals for medical experimentation would be greater human suffering
-A right is a (potential) claim that one party may exercises over another the key is they have to be within a community of moral agents
-must know who holds the right, against whom is it held, and to what is it a right
-rights: moral, law, and both
-Human beings are the possessors of rights
-moral capability: possess an inner consciousness of a free will, the self-conscious participation of humans in an ethical order, human membership in a moral community, development of self though consciousness of other moral selves and the intuitive cognition of the rightness of an action.
-Animals lack free moral judgment
-Holders of rights must-
-have the capacity to comprehend rules of duty
-understand that their interests and what is just may conflict

-in experimenting on animals we do not violate their rights because they have none to violate
-animals can suffer but inferring that experimental research causes animals distress is wrong, it commits two errors:
1. assumption: thinking that the animals have equal moral standing to humans, that the pains suffered by a human are equal to the pains suffered by an animal. to deny this equality is Speciesm
Cohen's claim is that Speciesm is not like racism because with racism there is no morally relevant distinction among races. But between animals and humans the morally relevant differences are enormous
humans: engage in moral reflection, are morally autonomous, members of moral communities
making their moral status very different from animals. those who don't make this distinction are certain to misapprehend their true obligations

2. objection to animal research because of pain and pleasure: wrong because ignoring the beneficial results of the research. Disadvantageous consequences of not using animals in research. Think of all we have attained and things we can only attain trhough their use. The benefits are beyond quantification

Utilitarians make the argument but really the conclusion is reversed: to refrain from using animals in medical testing would be morally wrong because it's not the greatest outcome for the most amount of people. we would be far worse off without the vaccines and development in research from such testing.

One cannot object to killing animals in medical testing yet continue to eat them, believers should protest meat eating just as much as experimental testing
reductio ad absurdum: the rejection of moral distinctions between animals and human beings.

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